Thursday, July 21, 2005

 

the child, eighty-two


Now, he thought. How was it he had kept focused in his thoughts all morning? The helmet, surely. But what was it?

He pictured it again in his head - how Starr's hands had mimed the placing on his head of the helmet from above. And as he thought of Starr's hands, his mind slipped sideways to think of how much he enjoyed holding those hands, and also enjoyed watching her sweet, expressive face. And as he thought of the helmet being from above - his eyes slipped skyward to wonder if it might rain today.

Rain. He smiled. It was delightful, when it rained, to take Starr with him again when he went to the tent that Morgen, Mal, and Mac shared. To all sit together in long conversation once more, while the rain poured down outside.

And he wondered - not for the first time since Mac had revealed himself to be an angel - what it was like for Morgen and Mal to share a tent with him, and how they had reacted when they first learned what he was.

What was it like, sharing a tent with an angel? Did he sleep?

The tent. And now Stone chuckled. He remembered how strange that tent had looked, when he saw the way they had set up after Mac and his friends had donated one of the poles to make Forest's splints. What a sight it had been! The front was normal, with the two poles holding up the two corners. And the back was normal at the ground, with two stakes holding out those two corners. But the top two back corners had been looped together over that one remaining tent pole, making it a triangle at the top. Very weird. At least they had been able to fix that quickly, with the tall pole he had brought them.

That tall pole he had used to fend off the wolves...

The wolves! And Stone slapped his two hands over his head.

What was he thinking?

Oh! All morning, he'd been fine, been focused. And now! Now his thoughts were binging all over the place, like an apple in a tornado. Or like ten thousand rabbits with the hounds after them - here, there, everywhere.

Ugh! Will I ever change?

And he came nigh to weeping. For he wanted so much to change. For Starr, for the group, for the Master...

Mostly for Starr. And that, he knew, was the wrong reason. He loved her, deeply, passionately. But he had to love the Master more.

It's in his strength, the Master's strength - his and not mine. That's the only way this will get done.

Surrender. That word came reverberating through his bones.

Surrender. All to the Master. But, um... he thought he had?

What now? He just wanted to sit down and bury his head in his hands. He nearly did.

'Stone?'

Starr. She was standing in the path, the others going on ahead of her. Apparently she had decided to stop and wait for him.

'What?' he said. And was surprised at how sharp his voice sounded.

A look of surprise crossed her face as well. 'Are you all right?' she asked.

He frowned, shook his head. And suddenly he blurted out, 'I don't see why you want to bother with me, anyway. And why do you trust me like you do? What are you thinking, trusting me? Why in the world would you want to pin your life to a, a,' he searched for the right word, 'to an idiot?'

Shock took over her face. Hurt - deep hurt. She recoiled from his angry torrent of words. And before he could take it back, or say anything more, she bolted.

She ran.

Oh, God! I've done it again! thought Stone. He wanted to curse himself.

He sprinted after her.

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